Contemporary Social Problems

Subject SOCI90004 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment: 10
Prerequisites: Admission to the Postgraduate Certificate / Diploma or fourth-year Honours in Sociology, Master of Social Policy or Executive Master of Arts.
Corequisites: This is a compulsory subject in the Master of Social Policy (200 & 100 point programs)
Recommended Background Knowledge: Sociology at Undergraduate level
Non Allowed Subjects: none
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc. Prof. Jens Zinn

Subject Overview:

This subject locates contemporary social policy and debates about its future in the context of the social, cultural and political changes. The subject focuses on individualisation, the changing relationship between individual and collective, and the implications for social policy and forms of social solidarity; the changing relationship between state and society; implications of emerging forms of risk, mobility and social diversity for social policy; emerging forms of inequality and social policy; competing moral grammars and changing patterns of citizenship; the implications of increasing social complexity for social policy; the relationship between social policy and international organizations; gender, race and social policy; and different social policy responses to globalization.

  • A knowledge of contemporary social problem;
  • An ability to use theoretical models to consider social processes at work in contemporary social problems;
  • An ability to critically consider the ways social policy constructs our understanding of contemporary social problems.
Assessment: A literature review of 1000 words (30%) due mid-semester, and a research essay of 4000 words (70%) due during the examination period.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • research skills, through the competent use of library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;
  • an understanding of the social, ethical and cultural contexts of research;
  • critical thinking and analysis skills, through recommended reading, essay writing, and seminar discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • skills in written and oral communication, time management and planning, and group work, through completion of course requirements;
  • the capacity to think in theoretical terms, through class requirements and engagement with theories and methods of the social sciences;
  • the capacity to think creatively, through course work and course discussion, and by critical analysis of competing arguments.
Related Course(s): Master of Environment
Master of Environment
Master of Social Policy
Postgraduate Certificate in Environment
Postgraduate Diploma in Environment
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
Governance, Policy and Communication

Download PDF version.